Did you hear? Spizzy Spose got signed last year on the strength of a single, “I’m Awesome,” that blew up on national radio. The song is about as annoyingly catchy as a slimy ear worm can be, but in no way does that mean Spose doesn’t know what he’s doing.

In fact, not only has Wells-born Ryan Peters proven himself a legitimate rhymer, he’s taken ownership of the pasty, Munchkin-popping teen trapped in depression, flipping the script to elicit a laugh or two. It’s a bold and risky way to ultimately shed light in the world.

His latest release, “Happy Medium,” is rife with healthy self-forgiveness, as articulated in “Sketchball”: “It’s all right if you suck at life — look at me.”

The label passed on these tracks for the big debut, but in some cases, Spose is in the cut at a level heretofore unheard of for Maine. Check “Can’t Get There From Here,” featuring Spose’s familiar tropes on steroids. Yes, it’s unlikely an MC would break from Maine, but it’s much more shocking for that same rapper to unleash a jaw-dropping Twista-worthy blitz over an ill drum break in the last verse. All of a sudden, you’re no longer making small-market excuses for the guy.

So too with the slithering bass and organ interplay in the title track, a solid, early-’90s West Coast beat, providing sly commentary on that “something so hollow in those Hollywood hills.” Perhaps newly jaded by Tinseltown, Spose codifies his message around his happy-medium existence, insisting he gave his listeners his “blemishes since the genesis.”

Somehow, these love songs to his hometown don’t get old, thanks to Peters’ tightly turned phrases.

Sure, there’s plenty of inconsistent sequencing here befitting a B-sides collection, and perhaps one too many references to the sticky bacchanalia Spose so loves. But it does beg the question: If this is the record made up of the rejects, how good will the major-label debut be?

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.


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